2-year-old leghorn with swollen (water balloon) abdomen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by environmom, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. environmom

    environmom New Egg

    Feb 4, 2011
    Yesterday I noticed this hen lagging behind the others. She usually leads. Observed a very full, fluid filled abdomen. I could not feel an egg. She had been laying an egg every day or two, but none for about 4 days now. I thought she may be egg bound, so I brought her in in a wire bottom cage, placed that on top of my dog's crate. I covered the cage with a blanket, and placed a pot of steaming water in the dog crate. Covered it all up, and waited for an egg. No egg. Replaced the steaming pot several times - still no egg. I put her back out with the girls - they are free ranging in my yard.

    Today she seems a bit less swollen, still no egg. She ate sunflower seeds, and is foraging with the others, but not as aggressively as normal.

    She is a hatchery leghorn, and has laid almost everyday for a year and a half. Went through a molt a couple months back, took a short break from laying during that time.

    I have read some posts about internal layers, but never found what that really means, and if this hen has been laying normally for over a year, I don't think this is her problem.

    I do have a bowl of oyster shell available at all times, and feed a layer pellet as well as scratch and black oil sunflower seeds. They also free range most days to the detriment of my yard, but to their benefit. This hen's shells have been thinner than the other girls, but I attribute that to her laying more and larger eggs. The other hens took a winter break from laying, and are just beginning to lay again.

    I have penicillin, but have never given a chicken a shot. I have read here that some gals extract the fluid - I could try that, but how do I know where to insert the needle?

    I think my best guess as to what is wrong with this hen is that maybe an egg broke, or she is egg bound.

    Oh, and she has watery poop which is mostly clear with some solid brown material.

    I would sure appreciate any advice from you all to help me save my young hen.
    Thank you, Laurie -
    My flock of 6 - white leghorn, bantam cornish, americauna, sicilian buttercup, mille fleur d'uccle, old english game hen
    The rest of the crew - rabbits, dairy goats, a rescue bichon, silver poodle, and several rescue cats. Oh, and don't forget the 2 turtles and several fish tanks [​IMG]
  2. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    Accumulation of large amounts of fluid in the abdomen is also called ascites . It is most commonly associated with heart failure, liver failure, or pulmonary hypertension. Not sure what you can do for your poor girl if it is that, though.
  3. GreenGoddess

    GreenGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2009
    St Pauls, NC
    Since she is 2 years old, she may have become and internal layer.. Unfortunately, if this is the case, there is nothing that can be done other than draining the fluid but eventually her internal organs will begin to fail...

    Goddess [​IMG]
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    It is fluid from her organs shutting down because of internal laying/egg peritonitis. Ascites can be apart from internal laying or associated with it. This thread will tell you what is probably happening with your poor hen--it shows what I drained from my Olivia on several occasions.


    With internal laying, egg material/solidified infection backs up in the oviducts or drops into the abdomen. It's common in high production breeds like your leghorn and some of the most common hatchery breeds. Antibiotics may help somewhat, but the condition is chronic and will recur. Sadly, there is no prevention and no cure.

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